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Installing SQL Server 2005 on a Dell R900 or any multi-core machine where the number of cores is not 1,2,4,8 or 16… September 10, 2009

Posted by Sean Welsh in sql server 2005.

This is worth a post. Installing SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition is generally speaking a very noddy process. Insert CD, accept defaults and it works on your typical Windows Server 2003 or XP or whatever.

However, on the somewhat expensive Dell R900 with 2 6 core CPUs and in our case 32 GB RAM etc etc, the normally noddy SQL Server install comes to a grinding halt when you get to the part of the Setup when you try to start the SQL Server service.


The problem is that SQL Server 2005 likes to be installed on machines with 1,2,4,8 or 16 cores… It does not like 3,5,6,7,9,10,11 and certainly not 12 cores. The issue was fixed in SQL Server 2005 SP2 but you can’t install SP2 until you install SQL Server. And you can’t install SQL Server if there are 12 cores 🙂

Here is the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:


Yes, when I read this after 2 days of reading the innumerable causes of SQL Server Service will not start on Google, I banged my head against my desk several times…

I went for option B which is essentially tell Windows to use 1 core. Install SQL Server. Install SP2 then tell Windows it has 12 cores…



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